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Rhonda Boule
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Attorney/Partner at Ferraro & Boule
Attorney/Partner at Ferraro & Boule

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When staying together is not an option, Parenting Plans are essential...an excerpt from my website, Ferraroboule.com:

When parents divorce or separate, often their biggest concern is how much time they will be able to spend with their children after the divorce or separation.  

It is not unusual for parents to postpone or resist divorce when they believe they will end up with less time with their children.  When staying together is not an option, the ideal situation is where both parents are able to discuss and agree upon a parenting plan that makes the most sense for their own family members; common sense, since no one knows your own family better than you, including the Judge.  An attorney can  advocate on your behalf and help negotiate and draft a satisfactory parenting plan.   Where parents cannot agree, the Judge will decide child custody and visitation issues for them.

Parenting plans can address some or all the following issues:

Which parent will have legal custody, or whether legal custody will be shared
Which parent will have physical custody, or whether physical custody will be shared
Where and with whom the children will spend the majority of their time
Day-to-day schedules, including drop off and pick up dates, times and locations
Holiday and vacation schedules
Telephone time between parents and children

An attorney can explain your options, help you identify your goals, help you negotiate a parenting plan, and advocate on your behalf, whether in negotiations with the other parent or in Court.
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I've recently added information to the Family Law section of my firm's website, Ferraroboule.com.  Here's an excerpt from the section dealing with custody in a divorce or paternity action:

One of the greatest sources of anxiety for parents involved in a divorce or paternity case is child support.  Parents who expect to pay child support worry about whether they will be ordered to pay more than what they can afford.  Parents who expect to receive child support worry about whether they will receive enough to maintain a household and pay the children’s expenses.  Often it feels as though there’s not enough money to go around, and there’s a very good reason for that: unfortunately, the reality is that it costs far more to run two households than one.  Faced with that dilemma, the Courts in Massachusetts have recognized the need to put the interests of the children above all by minimizing the financial impact of the divorce or separation upon them.  To that end, the Courts have implemented certain guidelines which apply in many cases to help ensure that children are adequately cared for by both parents in a divorce or paternity case.

In setting the amount of child support — whether or not the children were born to parents who were married — the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines take into account a number of factors, including the parents’ income, amount of time spent with the children, amount paid for child care and health insurance, and ages of the children.  The Massachusetts Guidelines are also meant to take into consideration the need to protect parents with lower incomes, and the non-monetary contribution of both parents.  In many cases, the Massachusetts Guidelines help provide more certainty to parents as to how much child support they should expect to either pay or to receive.

In some cases, parents have been divorced or separated for a period of time and circumstances change such that the amount of child support should be changed.  The parent seeking the change – or modification – must file a new case by way of a Complaint for Modification.  In other cases, the level of child support may be appropriate, but the parent obligated to pay falls behind in payments.   The  parent seeking to enforce the order or judgment must file a Complaint for Contempt.

As your attorneys, our firm, Ferraro and Boulé, can help you:

Determine the amount of child support you will pay or receive
Obtain wage assignments to ensure timely payment
Enforce child support orders and judgments and collect past due amounts (arrears)
Modify child support orders and judgments in appropriate circumstances, either up or down
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